March 2015: Disinformation distribution continues
In a blatant misuse of taxpayers money a Con/Dem government leaflet promoting the “vow”, (production and distribution cost estimated at £3 million) was sent to every one of the 2.5 million households across Scotland promoting changes to be implemented over the next 2 years.
The 8-page “Scotland’s Changing” leaflet contained details of new powers together with the benefits people in Scotland retained as part of the UK.
Let’s have a closer look at the content of the leaflet:
Statement: “the “Vow” issued from Westminster a few days before the referendum promised, “extensive new powers” for the Scottish Parliament to be “delivered by the process and to a timetable agreed” by the THREE Westminster parties.”
There is no mention, in the leaflet of Scots being consulted on the timetable for change or what will happen in the event Westminster MP’s return a “no” vote on the proposed new powers.
Therein lies the problem for Scotland post the 2015 General Election, the “no” vote removed all pressure from Westminster.
Scotland gave the Unionist parties, (Labour Tories and Liberals) the freedom to do as they wish with Scotland and they set about doing just that, with zeal.
“Scots have chosen to remain citizens of the UK with its strong defences and global influence. The forces provide added security for families in Scotland in an uncertain world.”
UK defences are a joke since they have been dismantled beyond the point of safety in favour of retaining/replacing the Trident Nuclear missile system.
Conventional armed forces are in a perilous state having been reduced to unsafe levels, (with more cuts planned).
The navy is ill equipped and the surface fleet almost non-existent.
Fighter aircraft are in many cases incapable of completing operations.
An independent Scotland would have no desire to exert any global influence, except in the areas of trade.
“The UK’s large and diversified economy will continue to shield Scotland from sudden shocks like the recent fall in oil prices, or the need to rescue banks during the financial crisis.”
The UK’s large and diversified economy is a misnomer since it is carrying nearly £2trillion of debt, of which £1trillion has been added in the last 5 years of the Con/Dem government.
The remaining debt was incurred through the incompetence of the previous Labour government applying correcting measures bailing out banks caught up in the, “housing Bubble” fiasco of which Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown had 3 years advance notice and did nothing.
There are no “Scottish” banks since they all operate out of London. The reference to financial crisis and bank rescue is a red herring.
It is entirely possible, regardless of the outcome of the 2015 general election that any or all of the present party leaders might not be around, replaced with new leaders, who could be of a mind to abolish many of the powers presently devolved turning the Scottish parliament into a “talking shop” with very limited responsibility.
Scot’s should remember that Westminster is sovereign and can do as it pleases. What it gives it can take away.
Its called the “naughty step” punishment and contributes to many Scots suffering from the “Stockholm Syndrome”
Politicians are unable to pledge anything to the electorate until such time as they have a mandate to govern.
Anything pledged before the 2015 General Election is “tripe” and a clumsy attempt at sleight of hand tactics by the (three amigos) Unionist parties.
Incurring a spend of £3 million on political propaganda is a gross misuse of the nations finance but this is presented by Con/Dem politicians as the acceptable face of Unionism.
They underestimate Scot’s who are able to spot liars.
The 2015 General Election, the “Vow” and matters arising.
Reflecting on the stance of the Unionist parties in Westminster at the start of the referendum discussions. With under 3 weeks before the start of the General Election “Purdah” period which curtails the activities of political parties. It will not be possible to get any of the proposed new powers, which will require a significant number of new Bills, to the statute stage.
Few MPs want extra powers for the Scottish Parliament, (including many Scottish Labour MP’s). They will rebel and vote against proposals for change submitted to the Commons. There will be a significant number of government defeats at the hands of rebels and whilst it might be possible to get proposed legislation through the Commons, (if all parties crack a 3 line whip) But they then go to the House of Lords and delays of up to a year that will bring to the process. So, no change this side of the General Election.
May 2015 – Tomkins embraces the Tories
Tomkins, who negotiated for the Tories alongside the new Tory peer, Annabel Goldie, on the cross-party Smith Commission, has been invited to advise David Mundell, the Secretary of State for Scotland on constitutional matters.
He will provide advice on a range of constitutional matters, with a primary focus on the passage of the Scotland Bill through Parliament and the delivery of new powers for the Scottish Parliament.
Tomkins said: “It is a great privilege to have been asked to support the Secretary of State for Scotland through this crucial period for Scotland.
I look forward to working with the minister and his wider team to provide support for the Scotland Bill process.”
Mundell said: “he brings unparalleled expertise and depth of knowledge to further support the Scotland Office.
His advice and insight will be invaluable as we deliver new powers for the Scottish Parliament.”
May 2015 – Study by Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law says UK has reached a constitutional crossroads
A report co-authored by Adam Tomkins recommended there should be English votes for English laws saying:
“The piecemeal development of devolution means that the overall constitutional fabric of the UK has been weakened. The process should start with a new charter of the union to provide the framework for a fair and durable settlement between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”
The report also pointedly stated that any further transfer of powers to the Scottish parliament at Holyrood could endanger relationships, saying:
“The SNP’s preferred extreme form of devolution would seem not designed to preserve the union with the rest of the United Kingdom but to break it”.
Tomkins called for the abolition of the Barnett formula, because:
“it does not offer a fair solution across the UK.”
The SNP Justice and Home Affairs spokesman commented:
“Westminster needs to deliver the additional powers which Scotland has been promised – and the recent election result is a huge mandate for further powers beyond those recommended by the Smith Commission. In terms of a second independence referendum, that is a matter for future Holyrood elections, and whether or not there will be one is ultimately a matter for the people of Scotland.”
Jun 2015: The SNP landslide
The SNP entered the General Election pledging to hold the Unionist parties to account.
Nicola Sturgeon spelt out clearly what the SNP would pursue on behalf of the Scottish people.
SNP MPs would seek to have the spirit of the Smith Commission honoured.
With even more austerity to be imposed by the Unionist Westminster government on an already suffering Scotland, the SNP would seek to obtain powers contained in the “vow”, but subsequently removed after pressure from the Tories and Labour.
During the election campaign, there was much debate surrounding the pledge.
Unionists appeared across the media warning Scottish voters that a vote for the SNP would mean a loss of £7.6 billion to Scotland.
The message from Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems was hammered home in phone-ins, debates, interviews and news bulletins.
Accept our solemn undertaking that we will implement the full content of the “vow”.
There was worse to come when Ultra-Unionist Tomkins appeared on the Sunday Politics Show providing his views on the SNP’s proposals.
Tomkins’ Unionism is of the hard-line variety. The views he expressed on BBC Scotland were not surprising.
But why was he there at all? Tomkins is an advisor to Mundell, the sole Tory MP in Scotland.
Mundell is also the Secretary of State for Scotland. His mandate requires him to represent his local constituents , nothing more.
Tomkins doesn’t even have a mandate for anything. Yet here he was making pronouncements on how the UK Government would be responding to the SNP mandate.
During the interview, Tomkins stated that the SNP had not accepted the referendum result. Typical of BBC Scotland there was no challenge by lap-dog Brewer to the unsubstantiated assertion.
But the SNP seeking “full fiscal autonomy” (FFA) simply wished that the “Vow” should be implemented in full.
The subsequent general election saw Scottish voters hand the SNP a whopping mandate. Scots gave the Unionist parties the shock of their lives.
Jun 2015: The 2015 General Election
Scottish voters would not be denied their say and public reaction towards the outcome of the referendum was clear and decisive six months after when, in the 2015 general election the Scottish National Party (SNP) won all but 3 of the 59 seats in Scotland in an unprecedented landslide.
The three seats which went to parties other than the SNP were held by very small majorities and local circumstances applied.
In winning by such a margin the SNP became the first political party in the UK, in sixty years to win 50% of the Scottish vote.
The mandate given to the SNP confirmed a majority of Scot’s wished to be independent and had the leaders of the Party the courage they would have advised Westminster that Scotland would be withdrawing from the 1707, Treaty of Union, quoting the political circumstances that had resulted in its signature, that a small majority of officers of parliament in Scotland had voted in 1707 in favour of the treaty.
This being a settled precedence the ruling would apply since the Scottish political system had returned a majority of MP’s in favour of abandoning the Treaty
But the SNP government decided to abide by the rules set out by Westminster and went off to England, bagpipes playing, photo opportunities galore and committed political “hari Kari” on national television.
Jun 2015: Tomkins tells Scots – You’ve never had it so good
“The Smith Commission promised and the new Scotland Bill delivers.
The First Minister and her team will have all the powers they need to take action to reverse their effects or to point Scotland in a different direction.
Scottish ministers will have the power to top up any welfare benefit.
They will also have the power to create new welfare benefits and they will have the power to raise taxes in Scotland to pay for this additional public spending.
The SNP will be enabled to bring budget’s forward, increasing taxes, spending as lavishly as they want.
At last, Scots will find out if the Scottish governments commitment to social justice really is of a better standard than the rest of the UK.
Will Scots vote for higher taxes? This is what real, adult politics is about – not the gesture politics of nationalism, but the tough, grown-up questions of what public services we want and how do we propose to pay for them.
No longer will Scottish politics be dominated by bleating about the powers it doesn’t have.
Instead, it will focus on the ways in which the SNP Government are making a mess of the powers they already have.
The new Scotland Bill is important because it means the SNP can no longer pretend that governing requires no more than finger-pointing and childish blame-game politics.
It’s time for Scotland to come of age, for the Nationalists’ bluff to be called and for home rule.”
Jun 2015: Swinney rebuts Tomkins
“Delivering the Smith Commission recommendations was the minimum the UK Government had to deliver – and they have failed miserably.
Backed by all parties in the Scottish Parliament, the report proposed new, limited powers for Holyrood in areas such as welfare, employment support and income tax.
The Scotland Bill serves Scotland badly and falls well short of fully implementing the Smith proposals.
With our existing powers, we have demonstrated we can make a difference for hard-pressed families – through boosting childcare, freezing the council tax, encouraging more employers to pay the living wage and spending more than £100million a year just to mitigate UK welfare cuts.
With new powers, we can make even more of a difference by using additional economic and welfare policies to protect vulnerable households but also to create jobs, boost investment and grow the economy.
Yet the Scotland Bill badly lets Scotland down.
The Bill restricts who the Scottish Government would be able to pay certain benefits to. It fails to devolve the full range of employment support services currently delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions.
It contains no powers to create new benefits in devolved areas, if we wanted to, having considered how new welfare powers will complement existing devolved services.
It is missing or restricts powers in areas of consumer protection, energy and the Crown Estate.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, the proposed Bill gives Westminster a veto over key policies.
That means myself or my Scottish Cabinet colleagues would still have to seek the explicit approval of the relevant Secretary of State before implementing new policies – such as scrapping the bedroom tax.
By any definition, that isn’t devolution and that is why the Scotland Bill must be improved, if it is to have any credibility, it must be changed to implement the Smith Commission recommendations in full.
Doing so should not be seen as some kind of concession from David Cameron’s Government.
It would only be delivering what they have already signed up to and already promised the people of Scotland.
This week, the Scotland Bill will be debated at Westminster – and the real work begins to get it into shape.
If the Westminster parties are not prepared to honour the promises they made to people of Scotland in the days before the referendum, then SNP MPs will seek to amend the Bill to do just that.
We want to remove the UK Government’s veto over key decisions, give the Scottish Parliament an explicit power to create new benefits in devolved areas and ensure that the Scottish Parliament cannot be abolished without the consent of the Scottish people.
These basic changes to the Bill will give future Scottish governments the freedom to exercise new powers without interference.
But going forward, we regard what is currently being proposed as the floor – not the ceiling.
That’s why we’ll also put forward proposals shortly for more powers to be devolved through the Scotland Bill including employment policy, the minimum wage, welfare, business taxes, national insurance and equality policy – the powers we need to create jobs, grow revenues and lift people out of poverty.”
Jun 2015: Swinney calls for devolved full fiscal autonomy
The Deputy First Minister called for extra powers to give Holyrood:
“the levers to grow our economy and tackle inequality.
The Scottish Government believes we should move towards full fiscal autonomy as the best route to fulfill Scotland’s potential.
In the meantime, we are prioritizing the transfer of additional powers to incentivize key sectors, raise productivity and attract investment.
Powers over the minimum wage, employment policy and benefits would allow us to build a coherent approach to training, education and support for people out of work or experiencing in-work poverty.”
Jun 2015: Tomkins rejects SNP call for full fiscal autonomy
The UK Government rejected the SNP’s call for full fiscal autonomy.
Whilst accepting the controversial UK policy was a shambolic mess Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, said ministers would not accept an SNP amendment on the issue when the Scotland Bill is debated in the House of Commons.
Tomkins, adviser to Mundell, stated that allowing fiscal autonomy would effectively reverse the result of the independence referendum.
“full fiscal autonomy isn’t devolution max, it is independence light,” he said.
Tomkins then told the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme it would be irresponsible of the Westminster government to “devolve the national minimum wage, or employers’ national insurance contributions or corporation tax”. Saying: “the Smith Commission did not reject them because of unionist intransigence, it did so because they significantly undercut the reason why we have the Union.”
Jun 2015: The BBC is a major problem for Scotland
Only days before the independence referendum senior BBC Scotland news presenters openly assisted the “Better Together” campaign rabbiting on endlessly, telling Scots viewers that Full Fiscal Autonomy (FFA) was on offer (the pledge) in the event of a “No” vote.
This turned out to be utter garbage, not one of the three London based Unionist parties had any intention of handing over Devo Max or anything like it.
Jun 2015: JK Rowling in Twitter row
Humbled by the general election result – the English-born author, who lives in Edinburgh – spoke out about the abuse she had received after Labour’s crushing defeat.
She claimed she was being described as “Blairite scum”, a traitor to Scotland and urged to leave the country.
She also said that she had SNP friends for whom it was “all about self-determination” and she respected their view, and said she hoped the overwhelming majority of the SNP were not anti-English.
Independence supporters told her to “grow up” and claimed they were tired of her using her influence to “mislead the public”.
An SNP spokesman said:
” the party counts many thousands of English people resident in Scotland in its rapidly increasing membership which is indicative of membership support for the SNP policy that it will tolerate no personal abuse of any kind on any side of the debate.”
August 2015 – Joining us now is North Britain’s most impartial Tory.
Trotting out Tomkins “whit aboot the constitution?” Tomkins the tory as an “impartial expert” when he was confirmed as a special adviser to Mundell confirmed the duplicity of the Tory Party.
On his conversion to “toryness” he related a story which in summary was:
“I offered my services to all the unionist parties, and it was the Tories who wanted me unconditionally, so clearly their instincts are correct.”
He is planning to stand as a Tory candidate in next years Scottish election with his only chance of success being to find favour with Ruth Davidson and get onto the “list” as a high priority.
2016: The Westminster Debacle – 2015 – 2017
To say Scottish MP’s were mocked would be an understatement.
The corrupt Westminster system brutally ridiculed then destroyed them.
At every turn the English dominated House of Commons imposed its will over the Scottish opposition.
The one single claim to fame by the SNP at Westminster in 2016 was the acceptance of a one day motion removing VAT from ladies sanitary towels.
2016: Scottish Parliament Election – 2016
The failure of the SNP at Westminster influenced the outcome of the 2016 Scottish Parliament election in which the party in which the SNP won a third term in government but failed to secure an overall majority.
In the election the Scottish Labour Party vote collapsed, to the benefit of the Scottish Conservative Party which increased their number of MSPs, overtaking Labour as the largest opposition party.
2016: The Brexit Referendum – 2016
Just one month later, yet again, the Scottish public confirmed their wish to be independent of Westminster when at the 2016 EU referendum they voted 62.0% to remain with the EU.
But, as was the case many times before Scotland’s wishes were consumed by English voters and their decision to leave the EU.
Intention to withdraw from the Treaty of European Union was notified to the EU in March 2017.
2017 General Election – 2017
From the beginning of 2017, facing growing opposition to Brexit, the Tory Government decided to “cut and run” and called a snap General Election on 7 May 2017.
The expectation, if polls were to be believed, guaranteed the Tory Party a working majority at Westminster.
But, from an opening 20-point lead, the Tory’s lead diminished in the final weeks of the campaign.
In a result that stunned Westminster, the Tory party enjoyed a net loss of 13 seats, while Labour made a net gain of 30 seats.
Other parties performed badly as England returned to the much discredited “ping-pong” two party voting patterns of the past.
In Scotland, the election resulted in the SNP remaining the largest party, retaining 35 of the 56 seats It had won two years before.
The Scottish Tory Party won 13 seats while Labour and the Liberal Democrats took 7 and 4 seats respectively.
The result provided ammunition for the opposition parties which they duly used in a sustained “fear” campaign against the SNP, orchestrated by the Red Tory Alliance claiming Scot’s had lost their appetite for independence.
The SNP hierarchy responded by abandoning a fundraiser for a possible referendum sometime after the conclusion of the 2 year Brexit negotiation period at the end of March 2019.
2017 Scottish Independence Referendum – Post Brexit – 2019
Looking forward to the post Brexit period it is entirely possible that Scottish politicians will seek to hold another referendum on Scotland’s independence.
It is imperative that lessons are learned from the much discredited 2014 referendum and events since and changes applied.
Postal voting to be permitted but only if secured by a “failsafe” system.
The usual caveats would be applicable in the case of service personnel.
Voting by proxy to be permitted but birth certificates or other form of acceptable proof of identity to be produced by a named proxy at the time of placing a vote.
Adoption of the foregoing as policy would provide an opportunity for Scot’s and only Scot’s to express their wish for the future of their country.
Jan 2014: Richard Keen QC appointed Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party.
A delighted Ruth Davidson said the appointment of one of Scotland’s highest earners, Richard Keen showed that the Scottish Conservatives were committed to recruiting the brightest and the best people in Scotland, adding:
“As one of the UK’s leading legal brains, he brings a wealth of external experience to the party, and I am looking forward to working closely with him as we lead the team at a critical time in the politics of our country.”
“As we face the potential break-up of Britain, there are many in Scotland who will be reminded of the values of our party and its role in maintaining what is so much more than just the political union of the UK.”
May 2015: Just over a year later Tory supporter Richard Keen is appointed Advocate general-the most powerful legal position in Scotland
Schedule 6 to the Scotland Act requires that the Advocate General be provided with notice of all ‘devolution issues’ raised before courts or tribunals in Scotland.
Devolution issues include challenges to the legislative competence of an Act of the Scottish Parliament and to whether a member of the Scottish government has complied with the EU Convention on Human Rights or EU Community law.
The Advocate General may choose, intervene, on behalf of the UK government, in proceedings in which devolution issues have been raised if he so decides.
The Office of the Advocate General considers all Scottish Parliament Bills as they progress, in consultation with interested UK government departments, to assess their legislative competency.
Under section 33 of the Scotland Act, the Advocate General has the power to refer Scottish Parliament Bills to the Supreme Court for decisions on their legislative competence.
Their man at the very centre of any anyting to do with devolution or independence
Jul 2016: And only a year Richard Keen is appointed to be the spokesman for Ministry of Justice business in the House of Lords.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesperson for the Lords is responsible for all departmental business in the Lords.
He also advises the Secretary of State for Justice on the following policy areas:
1. Civil justice (including discount rate and whiplash)
2. legal services
3. Global Britain
4. Relationship with the legal profession
5. Claims management regulation
6. Crown dependencies
Couldn’t get any worse for Scots. It’s called “tying up the loose ends.”
Dec 2016: Bella Caledonia reported on Richard Keen’s performance, presenting Westminster’s Brexit case before the Supreme Court
“Watching the Tory government’s lead advocate for Scotland, Lord Keen, in his performance in the Brexit case before the Supreme Court, was to see the Scottish Unionist establishment in its fullest pomp.
But also, it seems to me, in its self-subverting arrogance too.
In order to do the Tory Brexiteers bidding, Keen ripped to pieces the rags of the “respect” agenda towards the Scottish parliament – by making brutally clear that Westminster command will always take ultimate precedence over any determinations coming from Holyrood.
There are signs that the Supreme Court has seen this.
When Keen noted that the Sewel Convention, requiring that Holyrood gives legislative consent to any changes in its constitution, was merely a “self-denying ordinance,” Lord Sumption pointedly asked how it could be merely so, if it was written into the law of the Scotland Act?
1. “The preening and word-splitting thereafter from Keen could only have been improved on with a full periwig from 1707.”
2. “During his long submission to the UK Supreme Court, the former chairman of the Scottish Conservatives and now Advocate General for Scotland, Lord Richard Sanderson Keen, Baron Keen of Elie, showed the court Westminster’s teeth with his snarled version of the truth in his statement:
“The UK Parliament is sovereign, the Scottish Parliament is not.” Heed and learn Scots!!!